The Mandalorian season 2 premiere showed Cobb Vanth firing a rocket from Boba Fett’s armor — paying off a tease from a legendary (unmade) toy.
The season 2 premiere of The Mandalorian not only revealed the fate of iconic character Boba Fett, it also paid off a 41-year-old tease about the character. Before Boba Fett was revealed at the end of The Mandalorian season 2, episode 1, “Chapter 9 – The Marshal,” his armor made an appearance — being worn by the titular “Marshal” Cobb Vanth. In the episode, Vanth utilizes the rocket launcher attached to the back of the armor, and long-time Star Wars fans were pleasantly surprised by the nod to a piece of franchise history.
Jon Favreau is the showrunner for The Mandalorian, and has demonstrated a deep love of the franchise through this project (as well as an appreciation or the original trilogy’s Western-infused spirit). While Disney set up Boba Fett’s return 5 years ago, the reveal about Boba Fett was quite a shock for long-time friends of the franchise — especially collectors.
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Twice in the episode, Vanth is shown bending at the waist and leaning forward while deploying a rocket from his back. It’s a cool moment — and certainly adds to the excitement of the episode — but the motion is also noticeably awkward and stiff. This is because the posture is an homage to a legendary unreleased Star Wars action figure from the original line: the 1978 Kenner rocket-firing Boba Fett.
The Rocket-Firing Boba Fett Toy, History Explained
As described in Netflix’s documentary series The Toys That Made Us, Kenner was the company originally awarded a merchandising deal for Star Wars in 1976. In 1979, the company offered a special mail-in program by which one could receive an exclusive Boba Fett toy — just by mailing in four proofs of purchase. Originally, the toy was designed with a rocket-firing mechanism in the back; however, concerns over safety led to Kenner abandoning that plan, and instead releasing a version that had a stationary rocket on the back. While the original design was never mass-produced, there are a handful of prototypes that survived — by some estimates, just a few dozen that are still in existence today. Many of these are obvious prototypes, lacking any packaging or even paint on Boba Fett’s armor. In the above video, however, one owner possesses a version that better reflects what the mass-produced version would have looked like, as it was used for a display at a 1979 toy fair.
The action figure prototype is a highly sought after toy among Star Wars collectors — and the price-tag just keeps increasing. In June 2020, one such prototype appeared on eBay with an asking price of $225 000 [via ABC News]. By having Boba Fett’s original armor in The Mandalorian season 2 premiere, and going the extra mile of showing it launch a rocket in the same manner the 1979 toy would have, Favreau is once again offering the best kind of nostalgia-infused nods to the Star Wars fandom. Clearly, Favreau has a deep love of not just the property, but the fan community as well, and it’s rewarding to see the franchise’s history — even the more niche elements — being honored onscreen.
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